The Stages of Design for a Successful Commercial Development Project around the Pensacola Area
The design process of a development project can be broken down into three parts: the schematic design, design development, and construction documents. To achieve the best results, proper care and attention has to be given to each one of these phases. An oversight in any of the three will mean an oversight in all that follows, so be sure to have completed each part of the planning stage before continuing to this stage.
From planning to post-occupancy is our series for developers to learn strategies that will carry them through the four stages of a commercial development project: planning, design, construction, and closeout. If you are a developer on the North Gulf Coast, you may find the rest of our series of use as well.
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Handing over the loan/investor brief
Having your design team alongside you during the planning stage, you control the content of your brief. This can be vital to the project. It is for this reason that understanding your yield goals, market research, jurisdiction and terrain limitations is so important from the very beginning.
This is the most cost effective stage of a project in which to analyze multiple development solutions. Completing more than one conceptual design is not incredibly costly compared to the overall project, the reasoning behind the second or third design is to show how variations in product target markets or site regulations, and deliver alternative proforma solutions for the project. This being said, variants in this study may crystalize optimum vision and site solution. These designs are better being studied at this point rather than later on down the road during construction where subtle changes would be costly. If you are pleased with your conceptual design and it fits within your economic model, it’s time to move on to the next step.
The final design
The design development phase incorporates all of the design decisions and is your first opportunity to see the product in its full vision. Validate your calculations with this document, triple-check that it fits in with the site, and you ought to be good to go.
A side note about the design development phase: this is the point where a contractor team member will analyze the design and produce a construction budget and delivery schedule for the project. He will add select comments and suggestions from his subcontractor team on the design to be applied to the project in the next construction document phase this is your pivot point - from here on this will be the finished product, and will be a part of the community for a very long time. Opting for the cheapest route is rarely the best path to go, so be sure to take this into account before continuing.
The construction documents
Bringing a contractor team member in during the phase allows for a collaborative environment between yourself, the design team, and the builders. Different contractors prefer to use different building strategies, so these changes can be incorporated into the existing designs to complement your vision with their methods. Having a contractor aid in the development of the construction documents is very similar to having an architect aid in the development of the brief. In short, this is the best plan for long-term cost-efficiency and success, and will ensure that you can receive the best product within your budget.
It is important to note that the format for construction documents is shifting gradually with the technological market. There are still many builders who prefer the plans on paper, but with the rise of specialised software, there are others who prefer a digital medium. Be sure to discuss with your builder about their preferred method to receive the documents.